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Save Car Fun: Maximize the Tachometer.


New 2014 MINI gauge cluster mounted behind the steering wheel.

Dear MINI,

Why did you make the tachometer on the new 2014 MINI so petite? There is no gauge more sacred to sports cars than the tachometer as there is no gauge more fun to look at while driving a standard transmission. I thought you made miniature sports cars, not miniature meters. What’s next? Will you phase out stick-shifts altogether?

Let’s hope the image below was of the cockpit in beta.

Here’s some inspiration from the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder. Notice the emphasis on tach vs. speedo.




2012 MINI Hardtop JCW tachometer mounted behind the steering wheel.


2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder gauge cluster mounted behind the steering wheel.



Stride Mocks Apple’s Undeniably Clear Identity


Stride Gum leveraged many of the conventions of Apple’s new product launch videos (i.e., close-ups of Apple engineers and designers set against white backdrops and dramatic music extolling the company’s latest innovations, etc.)  in their Mintacular promo.

Apple has such a distinctive identity that it is easily apparent in something as mundane as a product launch video. It’s no wonder then why Apple’s new product intro videos can be parodied – they’re undeniably Apple. How distinctive is your brand identity? How do you ensure that your brand is distinctive and undeniably “Apple” across all of the environments in which your brand lives and breathes?


Time Never Stops


This is a video about photography. This is a story about life. This is a wake up call for humanity.

Photographer Ian Ruhter explains, “When I started in photography I was using my hands to create images and it seems like overnight digital came and all of that came to an end. I didn’t know it at the time, but I lost something that I loved. In the absence of that feeling it sent me on a tremendous journey”.

Ian begs the question, “If you had been searching your whole life for something that you love and you found it, what would you be willing to sacrifice”? His love is wet plate photography and he has invested his soul (and every penny he has ever earned) into the exploration of this passion.

Given the fact that we’re all on a journey, Ian’s reminds us of; 1. The importance of feeling along the way – through things that we love and are willing to make sacrifices for, 2. The need to be fully present in each moment because even the best camera can capture a moment, but time never stops.


Don’t Take Life Too Seriously Daily


Here is a great example of one of my colleagues not taking life too seriously as evidenced by his out-of-office auto-reply.  Imagine he has fun writing replies like this, and I thoroughly enjoy reading them.


I’m out of the office until February 6th, but I don’t want to leave you anxiously awaiting answers until I return.  So please check the appropriate response to your email, and know that whichever response you choose, I mean it sincerely.

[  ]  You’re right, that behavior is completely unacceptable!  I’ll talk to him/her/them/it today.

[  ]  Ha ha ha!  I haven’t seen that video before.  Seriously, where do people find time to train cats to do that?!?

[  ]  What do you mean, “Are you just hiding under your desk sniffing Liquid Paper?”  What kind of accusation is that?  I really AM out of the office.  Call my coworker Sam at 312-XXX-XXXX.  She’ll totally back me up.

[  ]  That’s great to hear.  Congratulations – that recognition is long overdue.

[  ]  I’m so sorry to hear.  Clearly, you were rooked by simpletons who can’t appreciate your depth.

[  ]  Yes, we do have a couple open positions.  I’d call Kristen.  I think there’s a writer slot, and a couple digital designer positions as well.

[  ]  That’s an incredibly thoughtful offer, but we couldn’t possibly adopt another child.

[  ]  Thank you for inviting me to your meeting.  Will there be cookies?

[  ]  I am greatly disappointed to hear your meeting was cancelled.  If it’s ok with you, I’m just going to use the time to proactively think about your project.

[  ]  I really want to help, but I don’t have that kind of money on me.  Did you ask the Nigerian government why you have to make a deposit before you receive your inheritance?

[  ]  Those revisions would really neuter the idea.  You didn’t really mean that, did you?

[  ]  That feedback makes the work even better – thanks for offering it.

[  ]  There will be approximately 11 of us.

[  ]  Thanks for your delightful communique.  You’re always so witty.  Certainly much wittier than your sister.  I guess maybe it’s because of your sense of humor that I’ve always secretly loved you more.





“About Mike”


Hi there.

I grew up in Northern Illinois.  You probably knew that.  What you may not know is that I was once the proud owner of this awesome little teddybear and some sweet thick rimmed eyeglasses. These glasses were so big and bulky they were deemed practically indestructible by my mom.  Boy did I prove her wrong as I managed to unhinge, crack, crunch, shred and/or liquify about 15 pair of these babies over the course of my childhood (or was it a summer?).  For the record, lawnmowers make for the perfect eyeglass shredder…

Anyhow, I tell you this because it was at this point in my life that that I knew I had something special – an imagination that could stretch, flex and bend in order to “see” what others couldn’t…I was destined to work in an industry that rewarded creativity, but let’s not get a head of ourselves as my artistic pursuits just so happend to be in the service of “operation lame glasses destruction” around the time that this picture was taken.

You see that older boy behind me holding his own super sweet teddybear? That’s my older brother Sean.  We are 14 months a part – some say Irish twins.  I say “unplanned”.  Either way, he and I did a lot of stuff together growing up.  We rode bikes together, played sports together, dreamed of being fighter pilots together…actually this is a great segue for my older sister Heather to enter the story.  She taught us how to BE fighter pilots. All we needed was a plastic laundry hamper, a tall set of stairs,a big old push on the back as only a big sis can muster and voila we entered orbit.

The moral of the story is this, my brother and sister taught me to be fearless at an early age.  That coupled with the wisdom my parents shared – a belief that the world isn’t always perfect, but if you put your mind to something…anything…nothing is impossible.

That’s how I live my life.  Nothing is impossible helped me at nearly every crossroads to date.  From high school to college to my first job on the other side of my known world – fearlessness is the engine that compels me to “go for it”.

That and my dad’s ever so generous wallet that has funded many of my adventures.

One such adventure, my time in La-La Land, opened my eyes to strategic planning in advertising – the blending of art and science if you will – and it has since become my career and passion.  The hours are manic, the highs extremely high and the lows are bottom-of-the-barrel, but it gives me great joy to flood your lives with daily attempts to sell you the latest trinket.

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